Ponoka County experienced an unanticipated bump in getting repairs done on Elkhorn Road.
At council’s July 14 meeting, public works assistant superintendent Blaine Rose explained the two quotes received for the project were far higher than expected and has forced the project’s engineer into discussions with the companies on how it can lower the cost.
The quotes received ranged from $587,000 to more than $630,000, far higher than the $300,000 estimate from the county’s engineering consultant.
“The estimate from the engineers was based on rough quantities and the quotes include using the county’s tire shred,” said CAO Charlie Cutforth.
“It wasn’t the quantities that were surprising, it was the prices. You’d think right now that everyone would be hungry and we assumed this would be a great time to get this done. It seems to be just one of those things.”
Just getting the equipment to the site is estimated at between $50,000 and $120,0000 — depending on the quote.
“It’s only about three-quarters of a mile to repair. We could patch it, but it won’t hold. It will have to be done eventually,” said Rose.
“I also feel that the tire shred will work best as it will allow drainage of the whole road, not just a couple of areas.”
However, Rose suggested not only waiting to see if the costs can be lessened, but that the county may be better off waiting until the fall to do the work.
“Things may dry out more by the time September comes. It has settle quite a bit and is passable right now, plus we have caution signs out,” Rose said.
Coun. Doug Weir is concerned about the cost of the repair and what happens next year if the issues arises again.
“The hope is that the shred will work and it’s not that it is wet. There is spring in that area and when we have patched it, the spring moves to a different spot. Nothing else has really worked,” Cutforth noted.
In the end, council agreed to leave the issue with administration to work on the details with the engineering consultant and come back to council before proceeding with any work.
Council provided approval for construction of a road, but it may not have been what the applicant was looking for.
The request was originially to have the county construct about one mile of road south of Township Road 420 toward Magee Lake, in order for Dennis Heimdahl to access the area for a future potential subdivision.
Council however, voted in favour of allowing Heimdahl to construct the road to the county’s local access standard at his expense.
“His hope was to some time in the future subdivide and build a residence,” said Cutforth.
“It is not a through road and is for private access. Therefore, the cost should be the responsibility of the developer.”
When asked by council, Rose stated the upgrade could be completed within the current right of way, meaning there shouldn’t be a need for preliminary agreements from landowners next to the road.
That would also mean the county could avoid a potentially tricky situation, as the county would be responsible for negotiating and paying out costs for those agreements.
“That road standard could be done within the confines of the road allowance. There may be some ditching and culvert improvements needed though,” Rose added.
Coun. Mark Matejka wondered what the possibility is that this upgrade is done, since the original request was for the county to pay for it, plus the currently zoned agricultural land that Heimdahl wants to develop is restricted because the land is within the county’s Chain Lakes special development area.
However, there was no answer for Matejka as administration would first need to see a request and then evaluate it based on the restrictions.